2022 Citroen C5 Aircross SUV 1.2 Feel : Aircross The Universe

By Clifford Chow, 14 March 2022

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross SUV 1.2 Feel : Aircross The Universe

Singapore - Citroen’s introduction of a lower-powered C5 Aircross is a direct response to the steady climb in COE prices here in Singapore. The nasty daily depreciation, which plague the Volkswagen Tiguan and the MItsubishi Eclipse Cross is unpalatable to those who are looking for a sub-luxury vehicle (this is, if you still have the stomach for an almost $70k Category A COE).

SUVs in this segment face stiff competition, and it pays to stand out. Citoren’s design approach to their C5 Aircross is far different, and even refreshing when compared to its European counterparts. Inoffensive and quirky, its exterior is a collision of sophisticated lines, peppered with organic accents.

The less-powerful C5 Aircross not only loses out on grunt, but it also ditches a few features. The most obvious would be its unique red accents, seen when the car was first launched, together with its snazzy red-accented roof racks. This is done to keep the cost down. That said, Citroen’s grandest SUV is still quite an attractive class offering.

Citroen C5 Aircross SUV - Interior

The Aircrossesses interior design brings you softer edges when compared to its Peugeot 3008 cousin. It would not take much for you to notice the switchgear and plastic bits and bobs shared with its parent automaker, some which are lightly re-designed. The upper section of the dash features soft materials, pleasant to the touch. However, the hard plastics on the lower half of the dashboard, scrubs a little of shine off the Citroen’s overall premium-ish feel. 

Equipment levels are decent, with a 12.3-inch TFT customisable instrument cluster, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, complete with physical buttons, and large widgets to make navigation easier. While the interface is fancier than what the Japanese and Koreans can offer, I find that it can get annoyingly laggy. 

There are a few things we wish the car had, one of my main gripes is the faux 360 degree camera. The diagram you see on your screen when reversing, is really the reverse camera picking up what it sees, together with some stitching done by the infotainment’s firmware. The resolution on the reverse display is also quite poor by today’s standards. This issue plagues all the related cars in the original PSA (including Opel) lineup.

Citroen C5 Aircross reverse camera
Citroen C5 Aircross reverse camera

There is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, but it is wired (rather common with many cars still), and there is no wireless mobile phone charger. We also hoped that there would be USB C ports somewhere in the car too.

Citroen prides itself on delivering comfort, and both the front and rear seat cushions do just that. The rear row has three individually adjustable seats, which go well with teen-tween-teen seating. However, the legroom here can get tight for anyone above 175cm.

With the rear seats rolled forward, the C5 Aircross boasts 670 litres of cargo space. With the rear seats folded, the Aircross would happily swallow up to 1630 litres. While all is good here, the car lacks an automated boot lid, and it actually requires quite a bit of effort to shut.

Citroen C5 Aircross SUV - How it drives

Flying under the Cat B radar with 129hp, the C5 Aircross produces a healthy 230Nm, from its 1.2 litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, this is paired to an 8-speed transmission, driving just the front end. While its band of torque is rather narrow, the transmission does a decent job of working within these confines. However, the 8th gear does not seem to want to engage unless the car is going above 90km/h, and this is with a very gentle right foot.

Three cylinder engines tend to vibrate more, but the Citroen SUV has sufficient padding to reduce this to just a hint. In most cases, the engine’s vibration can only be felt if your foot is on the brake at the lights.

While the 1.2 litre engine might seem small on power, just remember that the same unit also powers the larger 5+2 seater Peugeot 5008. The Citroen needs a yawn-by-todays-standards 10.3 seconds to reach 100km/h. To work the engine harder, there is quite some right foot travel which you need, in-order to put that 1.2 litre on full whack. 

Sure it might struggle to pip other compact-sized Euro turbo something-somethings out there, but it delivers decent drivability, and performs adequately in city traffic. While Citroen claims 4.9/100km/l, we managed 8.2l/100km with a grand total load of one.

If you were to want a C5 Aircross, you would be clear that owning one is not about being in a hurry. It really is built to provide a comfortable driving experience. The steering feels lighter than it should, which makes this SUV easy to manoeuvre. However, speaking of manoeuvring, I use some blind spot monitors here. 

The highlight of the car is the suspension, which features Progressive Hydraulic Cushions. These do a fine job of ironing away minor road imperfections, providing occupants with a smooth ride. While the cushions do the minor stuff, the rest of the suspension takes care of more serious bumps. If you are closer to a boomer by age, and might know how Citroens back in the day drove with their hydropneumatic suspensions. Well, the current form is a more affordable interpretation of these innovative yesteryear suspensions; but I still have to say that the old expensive and complex ones rode better (and no these are not coming back).

There is a tall list of safety equipment to further attract buyers. This includes Lane Keep Assist, Collision Risk Alert with Active Safety Brake, Speed Limit Recognition and Hill Start Assist.

All of this goes for $132,999 (at time of publication), which makes the Citroen C5 Aircross among the most affordable SUVs in its class at this point.

PHOTOS Clifford Chow

Citroen C5 Aircross SUV 1.2 Feel
Engine 1,199cc, turbocharged inline 3
Power 129hp at 5500rpm
Torque 230Nm at 1750rpm
Gearbox 8-automatic
0-100km/h 10.3 seconds
Top Speed 188km/h
Fuel Efficiency 4.9L/100km

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